Construction Industry Ends 2020 with an Uptick in Jobs
The construction industry ended 2020 on a positive note with the addition of 51,000 net new jobs in December and a recovery of more than 79% of construction jobs lost since the pandemic struck the U.S. Nonresidential construction employment was behind the industry's gain, adding 29,000 net jobs.
According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), two of the three subsegments of nonresidential construction employment improved last month, including nonresidential specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering, adding 18,300 and 15,000 jobs, respectively. Nonresidential building experienced a slight drop by 4,300 jobs.
Yet, despite the latest numbers, the construction unemployment rate rose more than 2% from 7.3% to 9.6%.
"The case can be made that the U.S. economy is back in recession," ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in the report. "Retail sales began to slip in October, and according to [ABC's Jan. 8] release, the nation is now losing jobs. With significant segments of the economy still completely or partially shut down, the likelihood is that further jobs losses are forthcoming."
However, all hope isn't lost as Basu noted the COVID-19 vaccination will hopefully give the U.S. economy "a significant uptick in growth during the latter half of 2021."
"That will set the stage for improving industry performance in 2022 and beyond, particularly if the new administration is able to push forward an aggressive infrastructure stimulus package," he said.
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate